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Friday, November 24, 2017

COLUMN: 'Do you know about the internet?' | Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier - Lifestyles

Photo: Cherie Dargan
"I’m a recently retired community college instructor who taught online for 15 years, helped pioneer computer classrooms for teaching writing and piloted a class showing education students how to integrate technology into their lesson plans" says Cherie Dargan, retired Hawkeye Community College communications professor.

My husband, Mike, managed technology for two public libraries, began using social media almost a decade ago and manages a blog.

But our geek credentials were not apparent when we visited a local store to look for a new office chair. The young man helping us saw we were not happy with the selection.

“We have more models online,” he said. Then he hesitated, looked at me dubiously and said, “Do you know about the internet?”

I took a breath.

“I’m a retired college teacher,” I said. “I manage four websites and a blog. Mike would have gone to Amazon to pick out a chair, but I thought it would be nice to go into a brick-and-mortar store instead. 

So, yes, I DO know about the internet!”

My husband sighed and we left. He ordered a nice chair from Amazon.

I find the major downside of being retired is being seen as “old.” Businesses would do well to encourage young workers to not assume everyone older than 50 is lacking in technology skills.

According to a May Pew internet report, almost 70 percent of seniors use the internet, and half of older Americans have internet access at home. In addition, 40 percent have smartphones. Another 30 percent use an iPad or Android tablet, and almost one in five have an e-reader. Overall, seniors ages 65-69 who are college educated and more affluent are more likely to be technology users.

In fact, many of today’s seniors were pioneers of technology use in the workplace.

Early on, I wrote a grant for my own Gateway laptop and wheeled it from classroom to classroom in a two-wheeled cart. I hooked up cables to a device to switch the image on my laptop to the television in the classroom to show my PowerPoint presentation, announcements or class agendas.

I taught on the Iowa Communications Network, Iowa’s innovative distance learning telecommunications system that connects hundreds of classrooms using fiber optic cable.
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Source: Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier